Monday was the deadline for embattled Gwinnett County Commissioner Tommy Hunter to file a formal response to the ethics complaint against him, but he didn’t do so — and he’s not planning to.
The decision marks the second time Hunter has snubbed his nose at the county’s ethics process. He had already opted not to make an appointment to the board investigating the complaint.
“They can continue filing unconstitutional claims,” Hunter’s consultant and spokesman, Seth Weathers, said Monday morning. “And we can continue ignoring unconstitutional claims.”
The ethics complaint against Hunter was filed Feb. 6 on behalf of Atlanta resident Nancie Turner. It alleges that — with various social media posts, including his now infamous Jan. 14 Facebook missive calling U.S. Rep. John Lewis a “racist pig” — the commissioner violated several portions of Gwinnett’s 2011 ethics ordinance.
The complaint is the first ever filed under the ordinance, which is primarily meant to target shady land deals and other corruption. But one section highlighted in the complaint against Hunter urges elected officials and county employees to “never engage in conduct which is unbecoming to a member or which constitutes a breach of public trust.”
Gwinnett’s ethics board is not a standing body and must be assembled each time a complaint is filed. The four-person board — one member short after Hunter declined to make his appointment — held its first meeting on March 31, officially launching the 30-day period allotted for Hunter to file a formal response.
Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said she was “not aware of anything” that would prevent the board from proceeding without such a response from Hunter. It’s next meeting is scheduled for May 12.
“I am disappointed and shocked that any sitting commissioner would choose to disrespect the County’s duly enacted Ethics Ordinance in this manner,” Nash wrote in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.